Second Test Match

Plumbing the depths

Len Hutton's team finished their triumphant tour by setting up a world record. They dismissed New Zealand in the second innings for 26, the lowest total in the history of Test cricket. The previous lowest score was 30, made twice by South Africa against England. The first was at Port Elizabeth in 1895-96 when George Lohmann took eight wickets for seven runs including the hat-trick. The second was at Edgbaston in 1924 when Tate and Gilligan routed South Africa, and Arthur Gilligan was in Auckland on this occasion when Appleyard for the second time in the match took two wickets with successive balls only to be denied the hat-trick.

After winning the toss, New Zealand were soon in trouble against Tyson, losing Leggat and Poore for 13, but Sutcliffe and Reid batted well in a stand of 63 before Sutcliffe, hooking a bouncer, was caught at mid-on. As at Dunedin, Rabone offered a dead bat for two and a half hours and his partnership of 78 in two and a quarter hours with Reid was the best of the match. Dismissing MacGibbon and Colquhoun with the last two balls of the day, Appleyard failed to trap Moir the next morning, but four balls from Statham sufficed to dispose of Moir and Hayes.

Instead of the ideal conditions of the first day, England were confronted with the task of batting on a pitch affected by heavy rain and in light that was dull for most of the day. In addition, more rain which caused two breaks of half an hour left the outfield so heavy that rarely did the batsmen gain full value for their strokes. This was specially true in the case of May whose 48 in two hours included seven 3's.

England owed much to Hutton who, going in at number five, saw the total reach 148 for four at the end of the second day. Bailey stayed over two hours with his captain who proceeded to make the highest score of the match before being ninth out soon after lunch when MacGibbon took the new ball. Hutton batted three and a quarter hours. In a final stand Tyson and Statham added 28, two more than New Zealand were about to total.

Actually the issue appeared to be evenly balanced, but in one hour and forty-four minutes the game and the tour were completed. As in Australia, Tyson and Statham were mainly responsible for the collapse by getting rid of the early batsmen. In the seven Tests during the tour, Tyson took 39 wickets and Statham 30.

It was exactly three o'clock on a glorious summer's day when New Zealand began their task. The pitch was dry and not particularly fast, but the ball went through at varying heights and took spin. In forty minutes before tea New Zealand lost Leggat, Poore and Reid for 13 runs.

By clever strategy Hutton brought on Wardle, left arm slow, to tackle Sutcliffe, New Zealand's talented left-handed batsman. That move made the record lowest score possible as Wardle tempted Sutcliffe into a big hit against his chinaman and he was completely deceived and bowled.

With four men out for 14, Appleyard entered the attack, relieving Tyson, and he removed McGregor, Cave, MacGibbon and Colquhoun, who went first ball in each innings. In fact Appleyard claimed three wickets in four balls but Moir again prevented a hat-trick, the ball falling only just short of Graveney who was in great form in the leg trap.

Hutton decided to give Statham and Tyson the chance of making the kill, but one over from Statham sufficed. First he got Rabone leg before with his fourth delivery and finally established the new world record by sending Hayes' middle stump flying. New Zealand's previous lowest scores were 42 and 54 against Australia at Wellington in March 1946.

So M.C.C. won all four matches in New Zealand and finished with the best record of any visiting team to the Antipodes. Large crowds flocked to the New Zealand grounds, the receipts amounting to £26,000, leaving approximately a profit of £16,000 for the benefit of cricket in the two islands.

© John Wisden & Co